November 17, 2017

That Time I Went to Great Stirrup Cay...

One of the stops on my recent cruise was at Great Stirrup Cay (pronounced "key"... look it up).

GSC is owned by Norwegian cruise line so the only way to visit it is to cruise there (specifically on NCL)...

Because it is a private island, lunch is provided for free, just as the buffet is on board, and drinks are included if you have the beverage package.
I think there were 4 different bars to get drinks from, they were all packed by mid-day. We went to the island early and were able to get drinks easily for the first couple of rounds.
Also because it is a private island, it is BEAUTIFUL. There are no businesses or residents to trash the island or pollute the water.
Getting to and from the cruise ship requires a ride on a "tender," a small ferry-type boat that holds about 100 people.
If seas are rough, NCL will skip this port because the tenders are more affected by the waves than the giant cruise ships are. I feared this would happen as we were technically still in hurricane season, but we were met with calm seas and beautiful weather that day.
There are several spots to hit the beach. The farther you go, the less crowded. The beach is sandy but there are rocks in the water. Boyfriend and I did okay barefoot but water shoes may be advisable. We just tread lightly. You are able to go out pretty far and still be able to touch the ground in some areas.

We were there the first week of November and the water was exactly warm enough to be easy to get into while still being refreshing.
On the beach there are loungers which are free, loungers with a top that are not free (I would call these cabana's but...) and cabanas that are rented ahead of time through NCL - small and large.

The fancy cabanas are away from the sand, have loungers, chairs, and ceiling fans. As far as I know you still have to go get drinks yourself.

For lunch there is a buffet (I recommend the ribs) and a taco stand (we were underwhelmed with all varieties). It was pretty good for not having to pay for lunch as you would at most ports. Something to note: There are 4 buffet lines that are all identical but only two of them are obvious. Go over to the side of the buffet pavilion and skip the line.

If you want some Bahamas merch, you can shop for souvenirs at the "straw market" (what I would call kiosks).
Before leaving the island, make sure to stop by the photo op tower (to the right after going thorough the entrance, past the straw market near some of the lounger-cabanas and get a shot with the ship behind you.
Though honestly, you can do this in a lot of places on the island, this is just where you can get closest.
I highly recommend selecting an NCL itinerary that hits GSC if you are cruising the Bahamas or Caribbean.

More on cruising :)
More cruise ports

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